Baracs, Károly

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BARACS, KÁROLY (1868–1929), Hungarian communal leader and bibliophile. Baracs, the maternal grandson of Immanuel *Loew, was born in Budapest, where he studied engineering. On the completion of his studies he entered the service of a railway company, eventually becoming manager, and was regarded as an outstanding expert on public transport in the country.

Baracs had broad humanistic interests and his home served as a center for intellectuals and men of the spirit. Before World War i he was one of the founders of the Radical Party in Hungary and an intimate of Count Michael Karolyi, who headed the republican revolution of 1918 and became the first president of the Republic. After World War i he began to interest himself in Jewish communal affairs, serving as president of the Buda Community Synagogue, the oldest in the capital, from 1921 to 1926. He was responsible for the establishment of the Pro Palesztina Szovetsség (the Pro-Palestine Association), the purpose of which was, according to his definition, "to atone for the dissociation of contemporary [Hungarian] Jews from the work of upbuilding the Land of Israel." Through his advocacy, his congregation, unlike others in Budapest, contributed to the Jewish national funds. He engaged in other pro-Zionist activity, although there was no official government sanction for this at the time.

Baracs was also active in other spheres of communal life, particularly higher education, and was a member of the directorate of the Budapest Rabbinical Seminary. He was a noted bibliophile, particularly of the works of Goethe.


P. Vidor, "Löw Immanuel es a budai közseg," in: Semitic Studies in Memory of Immanuel Löw (Budapest, 1947), 15–18; Magyar Zsidó Lexicon (1929), 85; Magyar Eletrajzi Lexikon. 1 (1967), 110.

[Baruch Yaron]